I am building an AR right now. But, I think you can decent quality, fully assembled AR's for less than you can build them for. I saw that My LGS was selling S&W M&P AR's for about $850 last Friday - believe me, if I didn't have money invested in this AR project, I would have simply bought one of those. The AR that I am assembling will cost me about $1,200, and I already had a barrel and bolt carrier to start me off.
The problem is that you can find cheap parts to build a budget AR. But, if you want to use premium parts - good quality barrel, upper, lower, BCG, buffer-tube and stock and a free-floating barrel system, all this stuff will cost you.
This is the way I see it: If you are buying or assembling an AR at this time, you are probably concerned about a possible AW ban in the near future. In any AW Ban that basically stops production of AR's for civilian purchase, all of the premium parts (which are already hard to obtain) will become unobtainable. So, given that you (we, I) think there's a chance the antis will succeed with some kind of AW ban, it makes more sense to me to construct an AR out of premium parts and materials, if you can afford it.
Just look at the '89 import ban or the '86 machinegun ban for some history. See if you can locate an FNC bolt carrier group or barrel. An AC-556 parts set (full-auto mini-14) goes for close to $2,000 now, if you can find one. So, if there was an AW ban, do you think you would ever be able to get your hands on a good chrome or NiB M16 bolt carrier group? How many companies will continue to make good quality free-float hand guards? Or good quality matched receiver sets?
Last edited by Skans; March 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM.